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On His Debut Album, 'Phase,' Jack Garratt Shakes Off Inhibition

Jack Garratt's debut album is called <em>Phase</em>.
Jack Garratt's debut album is called <em>Phase</em>.

Jack Garratt has been called the "sound of the year" for 2016.

That accolade came from the BBC. In the United Kingdom, he has already won several awards for his music. His debut album, Phase, comes out today in the United States.

From the start of his musical career, Garratt has been a one-man band, playing the guitar, drums and keyboard all himself — often at the same time. Garratt grew up in Buckinghamshire, northwest of London, the son of a police officer and a teacher. In 2005, at the age of 13, he entered the Junior Eurovision song contest — and came in dead last.

"That was the first time I ever put my foot in any kind of door," he says. "And the door broke my foot as it slammed in my face."

A few years later, while till writing and performing music, Garrett took a job as a teaching assistant to a boy with cerebral palsy. The experience, he says, was mind-opening — and had a profound effect on his creative work.

"He ended up teaching me a lot about losing your inhibitions when you can, and not being too stuck-up or stubborn to try new things," he says. "I got to see a kid who had cerebral palsy go and hit balls harder and try and run faster than all the other kids in his year, because he wasn't going to let his mind stop him just because his legs were trying to."

Jack Garratt spoke with NPR's Ari Shapiro about the making of Phase and the personal stories that shaped it. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.